Moldovan citizens often call their country “Wonderland”. Obviously, they do it pejoratively, and the election campaign for the snap parliamentary elections due on July 11th seems to be another reason to call it that. In the past week, there’s been an outcry in the entire Moldovan media about a so-called disclosure made by a controversial police officer.
On a TV show, he revealed "skeletons in the closet" saying that a candidate in the upcoming parliamentary elections, representing the Action and Solidarity Party (PAS), in the past led by Maia Sandu, was caught, back in 2016, with marijuana for a "joint", which she allegedly tried to smuggle across the border.
The person in question is Natalia Albot, a local media star who is currently producing an online political satire show and usually criticizes corruption in the Republic of Moldova. She was caught by the vigilant border police of the Republic of Moldova with marijuana on her, but, back then, given that the amount was weighing only 0.78 grams, the police had no ground to start a criminal case against her, and gave her a fine.
Ironically, the leader of PACE (We Build Europe at Home Party), Gheorghe Cavcaliuc, started a real war waged by means of the propaganda apparatus of the pro-Russia left. The pro-socialist media, as well as the one affiliated with the fugitive oligarch Vladimir Plahotniuc, kept bringing up the "kompromat" (compromising material) about Natalia Albot and the "drug trafficking" that PAS candidates were involved in.
After a few days of silence, PAS asked Natalia Albot to clarify this episode and so she announced her decision to no longer run, as she did not want to create image problems for the party. However, from a strategic point of view, it looks like the left forces that want to maintain the kleptocratic system perpetuated since the 1990s have made a big mistake.
A pyrrhic victory for the left
The fact that Natalia Albot announced last Friday that she was giving up her candidacy for an eligible seat (eight in the PAS list) entails several bigger problems for the Electoral Bloc of Communists and Socialists (BECS).
First of all, PAS will have something to gain out of it because, as the saying goes, a fault confessed is half redressed. Secondly, this episode shows a PAS that does not tolerate violations of the law, even for minor crimes that are mere petty offences, thus strengthening the profile of a party that stands against corruption, which it has been building for itself for years now and is promoted by its image driving engine Maia Sandu.
Thirdly, as influencers enjoying great popularity, Natalia Albot and Andrei Bolocan, the hosts of the show "The Internet Speaks", will push even harder on mobilizing the diaspora in favor of PAS, either out of desire to get some revenge for this episode, or just to give PAS some help against the oligarchic political forces in the Republic of Moldova. For several years now, the Moldovan diaspora has become very important, quantity wise, in the economy of any election. In the last presidential elections, it was quite obvious that the decisive role with regard to the final result was played by the Moldovan diaspora of about one million people, with a share of about two thirds in the West.
So, the beginning of the campaign shows how insubstantial the left’s “Black PR” strategy is, which compares a joint with three decades of permanent stealing, culminating in 2014 with the famous "billion-dollar theft" from Moldovan banks. Back then, 15% of Moldova's GDP disappeared in just one night, being moved by the representatives of this kleptocratic system through obscure banks and offshores.
Kleptocracy shows signs of fear
This episode shows the desperation of the kleptocratic system in the Republic of Moldova and how the police draw up criminal records against citizens who oppose the corrupt system. A mafia state that uses against its opponents methods used by the political police.
The one who brought this system to an unparalleled level was the oligarch Vladimir Plahotniuc, between 2015-2019. The funny thing is that the PACE leader, Gheorghe Cavcaliuc, the one who made public the great revelation about Natalia Albot's “joint”, is a police general known for being extremely corrupt, and the one who organized and was the head of the operations of intercepting, spying on and harassing Plahotniuc’s opponents.
All these things were revealed as part of the investigation known as “The Ministry of Interceptions”, according to which Cavcaliuc had the main role in applying political police methods using the structure of the General Inspectorate of Police he led, responsible for interceptions and stakeouts.
The “joint” issue, presented by Cavcaliuc as a big triumph of law over “drug trafficking” shows, politically speaking, that the left hasn’t got much of an ammunition against the pro-European forces and hurries into throwing into the game such “trump cards”.
To many representatives of this kleptocratic system, this is a fight for their freedom, besides the intrinsic stake of the parliamentary elections. A game of all or nothing in which they will throw not only all their hopes but also all their resources, including the material ones. Therefore, the upcoming elections are not just a fight for political survival, but also one to avoid going to prison.
The political police general: the thief who cries stop the thief!
Currently, Cavcaliuc has three criminal cases filed in his name for overstepping his responsibilities and abuse of office, so he has every interest in entering politics or serving parties that could come to power and influence the course of his trials.
Cavcaliuc is accused, among other things, of illegal incentives, disciplinary sanctions, illegal promotions, transfers, dismissals, the granting of special degrees and holidays, without having powers in this regard, and thus seriously damaging the public budget. And all this besides the political policing that he carried out at Plahotniuc's orders against the opposition, which we mentioned earlier.
Cavcaliuc is also no stranger to cigarette trafficking and has a great influence in the Ministry of Interior, even if he no longer holds any official position there. He has built a network inside this mammoth institution that risks being annihilated if reforming forces come to. Power.
Links with pro-Russians in Romania and “attack” claims
Cavcaliuc often travels to Romania as well. Early this year, he met in Bucharest with the president of the Romanian-Russian Chamber of Economic and Cultural Cooperation (CCECRR), Tudor Afanasov, and the two were photographed together for the social networks of PACE. After the meeting, Cavcaliuc said it was an important first step in the collaboration between PACE and the Romanian-Russian Chamber of Economic and Cultural Cooperation (CCECRR) “with which we are confident that we will carry out unique projects for society”. For his part, Afanasov, a promoter of Russian interests in Romania, said he supported the emergence of the PACE Party on the political stage in the Republic of Moldova, as one that valued the development and prosperity of the country, as well as the preservation and promotion of values inherited from ancestors. On the other hand, last month, Cavcaliuc was the protagonist of a very serious episode. He ordered the people of his party to throw “Paris Green” at a political rival who apparently got vaccinated by jumping the queue. The populist action ordered and assumed by Cavcaliuc could have cost his political rival the sight of one of his eyes, as he suffered serious burns to the face and head. To make the story complete, Cavcaliuc publicly assumed his gesture in a way worthy of the usual claims that terrorists make after an attack. He explained calmly that for this gesture, according to the laws of the Republic of Moldova, his people from PACE could get no more than a fine. The stake: control over illegal flows estimated at $ 1 billion annually Against this election campaign background, at discourse level, Cavcaliuc and PACE are promoting a rapprochement with the European Union. His party theoretically has an affiliation with the right wing where from he hopes to get some votes. Like the fugitive oligarch Ilan Shor’s Party, PACE owns rich material resources that it will use, as well, to buy votes, especially in the diaspora, where it has already begun to “distribute” electoral alms and promises. Natalia Albot, the one caught with the "joint", was a direct competitor of PACE in this segment. Thus, the election campaign in the Republic of Moldova begins with a scandal related to a marijuana cigarette compared to a kleptocratic system accused of controlling illegal flows estimated at one billion dollars per year, which is the equivalent to 9% of the GDP of the Republic of Moldova, according to a United Nations report. This includes large-scale drug trafficking, human trafficking and cigarette and alcohol smuggling.